Silence of the Hams.

Silence of the Hams.

I am not going to sit here and say that Fall River, Massachusetts is the worst place in the world, because it isn’t. There are plenty of ghettos that seem more like Hell than an actual place that would be on Earth. And on top of that, Fall River produces some amazing shit as well ( I am looking at your, Chourico, and The Portuguese Kids). But in the same breath, be in the wrong part of Fall River at the wrong time, and bad things could happen to you. Same can be said for any city, I suppose. Just a boiling pot of poverty waiting to spill over. Well, one sunny afternoon when my cousin and I got a flat tire in the wrong part of town, we realized just how scary and dangerous that can actually be. Thank God I have a big fucking mouth, and am not above using it to save my own life and convince people not to murder me and my cousin in cold blood on the street. This is that story, and on the soul of my Grandma, this tale is true, down to the last word.

So my cousin Nolan and I were driving around, most likely doing stupid shit we shouldn’t, and we got a flat tire. We didn’t hit a bottle or curb, we just got a flat tire. But we got the flat in a particularly bad part of some particularly bad projects. Here, I will show you a picture:

You didn't know all of Bosch's paintings were based on Fall River?

You didn’t know all of Bosch’s paintings were based on Fall River?

Okay, that may not be an exact photo of where we broke down, but it might as well have been. Now understand, we are not Triple A babies like most New Englanders. We don’t call a service to change our tires while we wait in the car. No, instead, we go out, and get dirty, and change the tires ourselves. (insert grunting noise here). So there we are, with a flat tire, in the projects. Thing is, we are not racist, so that didn’t mean shit to us. We just got us and began doing our thing, loosening the nuts and shit. This is when the fun began.

A small, Spanish (Portuguese, Mexican, I don’t know) kid comes onto the porch of the building we are broken down in front of. He is dressed like some bad cliché from East L.A. Here, let me peruse Google pics for a few minutes and see if I can find a good representation.

Yup, it was JUST like that.

Yup, it was JUST like that.

Okay, so maybe that pic is pushing it a little, but he was thugged out in a white tank top, a bandanna, and some khakis. Think CHOLO, but don’t say it out loud. We ignored him at first and just went on with loosening of the lugs. I may have looked up a few times and laughed slightly, but that was the gist of out interactions. The kid couldn’t have been older than ten or eleven, and he was sitting there, posing and gesturing to us. It was funny more than threatening. I was slightly stoned at the time, and it was  hot as hell outside, so his pacing and grunting began to get to me. Obviously, in hindsight I know I was stupid as shit, because at no point did my mind let me know that this kid was simply bait. That is the thing about living in a “hood” after you lived in suburbs for most of your life. You don’t think shit like this will happen to you. But it does. if only we were Triple A New Englanders. Now I know why people use that service.

This is what I masturbate to.

This is what I masturbate to.

So the kid keeps gesturing, and we keep trying to get this done as quickly as possible. Finally, after we have the wheel off and are bringing the new one from the trunk to put it on, the kid begins yelling shit at us. ” Not in my neighborhood, pussies” and walking back and forth like he is going to shoot us. Again, my stupid brain isn’t putting up REAL yellow flags yet, so finally, after a few minutes of this, I drop the tire and stand up.

” Isn’t Sponge Bob on or something, leave us the fuck alone and go inside. We don’t wanna play, little boy.”

That was it. That was all it took. The kid stormed inside, and for a second, I felt like that problem was out-of-the-way and we could just get on with our lives. That is when we heard the door open. When we looked back, both of our hearts dropped. Standing on the porch, behind the little kid, were seven dudes, all looking like thirty year old versions of this kid, same clothes, same grimace, same stance. My mind screamed one thing, but screamed it too late for it to be any good to me.

My Ackbar reflexes were slow that day.

The fight or flight response is a funny thing. It kicks in, even if you think you don’t have one, and often, that response knows what to do better than you do.  Nolan and I were still stuck there with a flat tire, and at this point, going down to finish the tire is going to open either of us up to be attacked, so we stood there for a second. Flight was not an option, and I knew it. As they began to walk toward us, the little gangster kid, smiling in the front of the gang, my brain finally kicked into gear and it knew what I had to do. My lips began speaking, and knew not of what I was saying until it was halfway out of my brain.

That is what I was thinking.

That is what I was thinking.

” Alright guys, listen. We mean you no trouble. If it was up to us we would not have pulled in here, and we mean no disrespect by being here, but we had a flat tire and really had no choice in the matter. We will have this thing changed in a minute if you just let us do it, and we will be outta here (so far, they seemed semi-responsive, but then insane things I didn’t plan on saying started pouring out of my face) but let’s talk about the real issue here, shall we? I am assuming that is a little brother to one of you (I said pointing at the kid), and I am guessing he does this a lot, huh? Starts some shit, and then run and gets you guys to finish it? But there is no shit here, we weren’t even looking at him. Truth is, how many times does he make you do this a week? Think about it for a second.”

They stopped in their tracks. I was shaking, but somehow still delivering this whole speech with perfect confidence. Nolan was standing next to me, in complete silence. Also, he had foot long dreadlocks at the time. How I left the white guy with dreadlocks element out of the story thus far I have no idea, but now you know just how fucked we were. Thing is, once I said that “think about it for a second line” I saw the alpha of the group (biggest guy who was walking in front with a bat) stop, and look down at the little kid, real pissed like. Holy shit. I hit a nerve!

He whispered something to his friend behind him, grabbed the little kid by the collar of his shirt, and said “change your tire and get the fuck out of here” and then dragged the little gangster boy inside, kicking and screaming. We changed the tire with a serious quickness, got in the car, and drove off before any of them could change their mind. Finally, once we were a minute away, my cousin looked at me and said: Holy shit, that kid is getting the beating of his life right now, huh?!

And just like that, we drove off into the sunset, laughing our asses off, and still shaking from the adrenaline of the whole situation. See, my mouth doesn’t always get me into trouble. Sometimes, it saves my life.

I bought a pimp chalice later that night to celebrate.

I bought a pimp chalice later that night to celebrate.